South African brandy regulations tightenedBy Becky Paskin
The South African brandy industry has tightened production regulations in a bid to better compete with the likes of Cognac and single malt whisky.
The South African Wine and Spirits Board has made meaningful changes to the ways vintage and pot still brandy is made.
Pot still brandies, which previously could contain a maximum of 10% unmatured neutral wine spirit, must now contain 100% pot still brandy.
Vintage brandy meanwhile, which can contain up to 60% neutral wine spirit, must now be aged in oak casks no larger than 340 litres for at least eight years.
No changes were made to blended brandy regulations.
Christelle Reade-Jahn, director of the South African Brandy Foundation which spearheaded the changes, said: “Top-end pot still brandy competes directly with single malt whiskies and Cognac. Single malts must be 100% malt spirit and Cognacs must be 100% pot distilled.
“The local brandy industry wanted similarly stringent parameters for what constitutes a pot stilled brandy to reflect the already extremely high standard of our offerings.”
It is hoped the new legislation will provide a greater differentiation between the characters of pot still and vintage brandies, which are experiencing growth at the super-premium end of the market.
The South African brandy industry was valued at R3.5 billion in 2013.
Peadar Hegarty, vice-chairman of the SA Brandy Foundation and strategic director at KWV, said: “It is now important that the industry develops awareness and education about the exacting standards to which our South African brandies are produced.”